MANILA -- The Philippine Patriots crashed the Kuala Lumpur Dragons’ rubber match hopes when it scored a come-from-behind victory, 70-65, Wednesday night before a cheering Malaysian crowd.

Import Jason Dixon unloaded seven straight points in the pay-off period to rally the visiting Patriots and claim the first championship berth in the 1st Asean Basketball League at the Maba Stadium in Malaysia.

Dixon also made a crucial three-point play off Jamal Brown for a 68-63 lead with 2:32 minutes left. He also had 11 rebounds for his 13th

double-double performance in his last 14 games.

Coach Louie Alas said he expected a neck-to-neck game, even after his Patriots choked the Dragons in Game 1, 77-43, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig last Sunday.

“We were very complacent in the first half. Luckily, we were able to talk things at halftime that we must keep our toughness on the defensive end, and I guess that’s the story of the game,” said Alas.

In the other contest, Indonesia’s Satria Muda BritAma survived another day after blasting the Singapore Slingers, 74-45. The series is tied 1-1 with the rubber match set on Feb. 7 (Sunday) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The Patriots, co-owned by Harbour Centre’s Mikee Romero and businessman Tony Boy Cojuangco, will face the other semifinals winner for the best-of-five championship series. As per schedule, the first two games will be hosted by the Philippines on February 12 and 17. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)